Category Archives: rights

People feel responsible for everything except for what they do

Thomas Hamilton: perpetrator of the Dunblane massacre

Dalrymple writes that

querulous self-righteousness, combined with a refusal to look inward or to examine one’s own conduct and motives, is characteristic of our age.

He notes that

a curious reversal in the locus of moral concern has taken place: people feel responsible for everything except for what they do.

The querulousness which lies at the heart of such events as the Dunblane massacre,

and of which it is an extreme manifestation, is fostered daily, hourly, in almost all our newspapers and on radio and television. Our belief in a constantly expanding number of rights, and that everyone except for a tiny gilded minority is a victim of circumstance, favours a frame of mind in which revenge upon the world is justified.

Of course,

self-exculpation, self-justification and special pleading are nothing new in human psychology. But never have these rather unattractive human traits had so much material upon which to work.

The latrines of Nîmes

Gare de Nîmes public toilets

The No. 1 annoyance in the Gard

For the purpose of micturition, Dalrymple decides to make use of the public conveniences at Nîmes railway station.

But he is greatly upset by the lavatories’ public-address system, because of the stationmaster’s insistence that rock-music bilge be relayed through it while gentlemen pass water. He asks:

Is modern man really so lacking in what my teachers used to call inner resources that he must be entertained while he urinates?

Dalrymple admits to

an aversion to rock music at the best of times. It seeps into the public space in the Western world as martial music and political propaganda seep into the North Korean public space (and all space in North Korea is public).

To be able to point Percy at the porcelain IN PEACE AND QUIET is surely a basic human right

The enveloping sound of the pop drivel irritates Dalrymple intensely. Having paid his 80 cents, he really feels he has

a right to urinate in silence.

Rock music, he says, is

a distraction, being both a noise and a source of æsthetic discomfort.

On bastardy

In the wasteland, rights multiply but duties wither away

Dalrymple writes that he meets in his patients almost daily

a combination of aggressive irresponsibility and self-righteous resentment.

Mothers with four children by three different fathers

complain accusingly that their lives are difficult, as though something else were to be expected. The deficiency is not a cognitive one: they know where babies come from and they know about contraception. Our hospital serves a quarter of the city, and 70% of the children born here are illegitimate. Either bastardy is not confined to the underclass, or the underclass is much larger than commonly supposed.

There is no intrinsic reason why unmarried parents should not look after their children perfectly well, though

many surgical operations can be performed on the kitchen table, but that is no reason why they should not be performed in hospital.

Dalrymple lives in

a world so liberal that no stigma attaches to anything (with the exception of constructive effort at school).

This world without penalties,

where anything and everything is both understood and forgiven, and where everyone expects rewards irrespective of his or her own behaviour, is a nightmare world without meaning.

The gentle Sikh woman

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 20.32.12She waited outside without demur, reading a book of prayers

In the ward, writes Dalrymple, was a young Englishwoman

of the slut-babymother class, whose jaw was clenched in a habitual expression of world-destroying hatred. Her glittering saurian eyes swivelled mistrustingly, on the qui vive for infringements of her rights. She exuded grievance as a skunk exudes its odour.

She had been admitted to hospital because

she had been out celebrating the night before.

Enlightenment reason turned into psychopathic unreason

In England,

celebration is synonymous with aggression and public nuisance, and she had conformed to type. The police dumped her in the hospital rather than in the slammer, where she belonged.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 20.34.20She

turned the attention of her lip to the admitting doctor, who took down verbatim some of what she said to him.

Her recorded remarks were littered with the word ‘fuck’, which the doctor rendered ‘f***’ in neat handwriting, showing that

in India, at least (where the doctor came from), there is still some sense of dignity, decorum and self-respect.

Putrid fruit borne of the doctrine of rights

The following morning a friend of the patient arrived in the ward before visiting time.

Both patient and friend were what is called in the prison ‘very verbal’. A nurse, acting on the biblical observation that a soft answer turns away wrath, asked them to keep their voices down, only to discover that the Bible has been superseded in modern Britain and that wrath turns away a soft answer.

Superseded: the book of Proverbs

Superseded: the Book of Proverbs

The nurse then told the visitor that she had to leave. Shortly after her departure under foul-mouthed protest,

the wife of another patient came. She was a respectable Sikh woman with a gentle manner, but it was not yet visiting time, and the nurses feared to provoke the slut-babymother by allowing her to stay, when they had told the slut-babymother’s visitor to leave. The nurses could all too well imagine the scene: Why am I not allowed a fucking visitor when that person over there is? In vain would the nurses point out the difference in the conduct of the two visitors; if anyone had a right to a visitor, everyone did, irrespective of the conduct of the visitor.

To avoid a conflict over rights,

the Sikh woman was asked to wait outside, which she did without demur, reading a book of prayers.

The doctrine of the Real Him

Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria

This is a watered-down secular version of Christian redemption, writes Dalrymple,

with Man in the place of God. Inside every person there is a core of goodness that is more real, more fundamental, than any evil act he might have committed, and which it is the purpose of punishment to bring to the surface. Punishment is therapeutic, redemptive, in purpose and intention.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that whole-life sentences to prison are against Man’s fundamental rights

because they eliminate the possibility of repentance and redemption (known in the trade as rehabilitation). The judges of a court that is supreme in matters relating to supposed human rights for a continent on which, within living memory, tens of millions of people have been systematically starved or abused to death or put to death industrially on an unimaginably vast scale, could conceive of no crime so terrible that the person who committed it was beyond earthly redemption.

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler

On this basis people like Beria or Himmler

would have been eligible for parole, provided only that they showed themselves reformed characters.

A serial killer once upbraided Dalrymple

for suggesting that he – who had kidnapped at least five children, sexually abused and tortured them to death, then buried them in a remote place in the moors – should never be released from prison, on the grounds that he spent much of his time making Braille books. He had redeemed himself, and cancelled out the torture and murder of five children, by subsequent good works, expressing the Real Him; he had paid his debt to society, as if good and evil were entries in a system of double-entry bookkeeping, so that if one did enough good works in advance, one would have earned the right to torture and murder five children.


can change; this is their glory and their burden, for it is the capacity to change that renders them responsible for their actions; but what they do may be irreparable.

Dalrymple’s Law

Our man offers a variant of C. Northcote Parkinson:

Rights expand to meet the egos that demand them.